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I began as Principal in September 2020 after nearly 12 years at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Leicester, and over thirty years in theological and higher education. From beginning my working life in Methodist youth work in the late 1980s I have been in education of some kind ever since, either in a theological college or a university context, and not always full-time. I went part-time when my wife Jill became a Methodist presbyter in 1997 and I juggled fatherhood, part-time teaching and being the Secretary of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church in Britain from 2000 to 2007. Crucial to the shaping of my faith, theology and life experience have been the places I have lived: urban Merseyside for my first 18 years, East London after studying, and then Sheffield, Rotherham and Leicester. Three months in Chicago in the mid 1980s whilst a student were eye-opening and mind-stretching. Being an ecumenical observer of the Anglican Communion’s Indaba process 2010-12, culminating in a visit to Jamaica, and two significant visits to Zimbabwe in 2019 informed me deeply. I have always sought to explore faith in relation to the complex realities of everyday life, believing there is a fruitful link to be discerned (in both directions) between systematic theology and culture and the arts (and sport, and shopping, and family life, and friendships, and politics…and much more besides). God is, after all, wrapped up in all things somehow.
1981 BA (Joint Hons) German and Biblical Studies University of Wales 1987 D.Phil. Theology (19th Century German Protestant Theology University of Oxford 2003 M.Ed. (Lifelong Learning) Open University
- Roles at Queen’s
I am involved in teaching practical Mission & Evangelism and Pastoral Theology. Together with Deacon Julie Hudson, I deliver seminars for our Methodist Student Deacons. As part of their formational training, all our ministerial students go on a summer placement, and it is part of my responsibilities to match Methodist students with suitable placement opportunities. I also teach Leadership in Social Justice and co-ordinate Queen’s efforts to get involved in local and national campaigns and actions for Social Justice.
- External roles and responsibilities
I have been an accredited Local Preacher in the Methodist Church since 1989 and was Vice-President of the Conference 2019-20. I continue to be linked with Wesley House, Cambridge, where I remain an associate postgraduate supervisor. I have been an external examiner and programme assessor for many universities over the past three decades, most recently for the University of Kent and for Charles Sturt University (Australia).
- Research interests
Theology and culture – especially popular culture and the arts. I am keen to keep on examining how theological issues and interests surface in culture, and how the ways in which the arts and culture do their work prove of interest to theology. I also keep in touch (just!) with developments in German theology through the generosity of the Journal of Theological Studies, who keep supplying me with review books (few reviewers being willing to read large books in German, it seems!).
- Supervision areas
I am currently supervising projects on preaching, Wesley and happiness, the theological method of James K.A. Smith and the values implicit in Christian-based Higher Education Institutions.
- Key publications
(With Barbara Glasson) So What’s the Story…?: A Resource Book for Christian Reflection and Practice (DLT 2019)
A Cultural Theology of Salvation (Oxford University Press 2018)
(With Steve Moyise) Jesus and the Gospels 3rd edn. (Bloomsbury 2015)
(With Vaughan S. Roberts) Personal Jesus: How Popular Music Shapes Our Souls (Baker Academic 2013)
Theology Goes to the Movies: An Introduction to Critical Christian Thinking (Routledge 2007)
Christ in Practice: A Christology of Everyday Life (DLT 2006)
Christ in Focus: Radical Christocentrism in Christian Theology (SCM Press 2005)
Cinema and Sentiment: Film’s Challenge to Theology (Paternoster Press 2004)
Christianity in a Post-Atheist Age (SCM Press 2002)